Sunday, March 25, 2018


All the money runs into one corner.  We all know that.  It’s not about the “Deep State”, it’s about corporate lawyers who chase loopholes.  All the power runs into one corner.  We all know that.  Same reason.  All the laws serve the one percent who have all the money and power.

Wealth comes from ownership and from power, which often derives from our cherished written law and order, but interpreted by the few (lawyers) to serve the even fewer.  The reason wealth is so powerful — it used to defined by the ownership of land — is that it is the only source of food.  (Well, fish, of course.)  The far more effective way to kill people is not by guns and bombs, but by famine.  But the ownership of land is now a tangle of law.  Ownership used to be defined by use.

My grandparent generation lived directly off the land, mostly by raising potatoes.  They were educated Scots whose main contact with industrialization was the railroad.  (Once the banks stole the loaded potatoes and my grandfather drove like a maniac to head them off.)  It was my father’s generation who accepted industrialization which meant not just machines but also chemicals and an oil-based economy.  My parents’ understanding of the world came out of world-depression and world-war.  Find a niche and stay there.

My brothers never found a niche except that one accepted a guiding relationship: marriage.  I leapt to the niche of a man twice my age who lived in the 19th century on a reservation, and I stayed as long as I could, which was based on willingly giving up myself — justified by his growing fame and power.  He did get wealthy — by those standards.

After a pause I went for what I really wanted:  to understand the big issues of my own generation, leaving family and propriety behind.  Propriety did not mean avoiding wickedness — it meant leaving the struggle for success, dominance, and ownership.  At this point — about 1980 — the general population of men, esp. working men, was finding themselves marginalized because the industrial world was coming apart, partly a matter of globalization and partly because of high technology.  In another ten years, computers were key and few men understood them, let alone their technology, let alone their version of wealth, which wasn’t about either land or dollars, but all a matter of spread sheets.

In 1999 I stepped away from the melee and moved to an intangible world of ideas.  There I found a whole new realm of thought that reaches into the future, that which has been created by the kind of understanding that comes from cyber-technology, the ability to inhabit times and sizes far beyond anything known before.  God died, quickly followed by human beings.  While some still resisted the knowledge that there more than 200 hominins before we got to human beings, there will probably be more than 200 post-human beings if we can keep from destroying the livability of the planet.  (The planet will go on, far longer.)

“You can’t talk butterfly language with caterpillar people.”  This quote might seem patronizing because we think of butterflies as privileged, more beautiful, able to fly, but it captures the difference and yet continuity that goes from agriculture to industrial to technological to cyber to . . . well, something else that I find more beautiful and able to fly.  There comes a time in the lives of some — unrelated to education but maybe to evolution — when some people think in a different way, different enough that those who try to stay the same cannot understand it, feel excluded.  ARE excluded.

If I talk about this to people who are still on the previous spectrum, they get mad.  Nothing magical about it — just a way of understanding.  And, on their part an anger born of frustration since to them whatever concrete known thing is there, that’s it.  Trying explain metaphor is doomed, even though — as Lakoff says — all language is metaphor.  Anything other than the metaphors they know is not real and to them the metaphors they know are simply reality.

I understand them to be frustrated and confined.  At the little newspaper where I worked for a while, the women — just visiting — idly wondered who wrote the song “Amazing Grace.”  Someone must have died so that the song was renewed as a guard again sorrow.  I had watched a documentary about the song, so I told them: it was a sea captain who regretted selling slaves which was a deep sin and the song he wrote was a hope.  There’s lots more.  They deeply resented that I knew this more they did.  Their value to them depended is being "those who know."

I have dents in the hood of my pickup from stupidly parking under a chestnut tree and not realizing the heavy nuts would fall on my truck.  Valier people say, rather smugly, "Oh, hail damage."  Then I explain and they get mad, because they don't even know what a chestnut is like, much less a chestnut tree.

Others, later, are still back where I was as a child, trying to understand that a chair was really just a bunch of molecules vibrating, though I could safely sit in it.  That is, I didn’t understand levels and terms of knowing.  But as an adult, I’ve become more adept.  For instance, I understand that what is illegal is not the same as what is wrong.  The terms of forbidden knowledge are entirely revised and will probably be revised even more when we manage to somehow reconcile all our little local laws into basic principles of life and continuity.  What was once porn, a glimpse of ankle, is now simply a fact of anatomy, though every fact is a complex of relativity — innocent here and deadly there.  What is a #MeToo moment to one is a little joke between friends to another.  What is an entitlement to one is a deadly assault to another.

That’s only part of it.  The human brain is not able to grasp concepts and abstracts before the age of 26 which is far beyond the legal age of understanding and certainly beyond reproductive age.  Should a child have a child?  It just happens.  

And the next part is that if one can succeed in being open and rational, what remains is the ability to change “modes” of thought between the bald facts of existence into the metaphors of art, the governing rules of thumb that we need to keep order, and the abiding ability to emphasize with others — even if they’re not completely human and not escaping into some kind of Dr. Doolittle magic.  How do we choose our method, as they would put it at the U of Chicago Div School?  But not become formless and desperate.

Most interesting is what’s still coming.  The internet has triggered new versions, some limited to special groups, some impenetrable (for a while), the dark net, code that is not binary.  Code that we “are.”  But a whole new technology based on vibrations, NOT code.  Wave signatures.  Rhythm.  Vibes.  Music.

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